Monday, December 16, 2013

The tree isn't up, but the bed is down

It feels like forever since I've posted anything but a review.  It's 1 in the morning, and my boyfriend and I just prayed together.  Since we met online in February, that's often been part of our goodnight routine.

Routine.

Something that has felt so lacking in my life this year.  

On August 12th, I had strep throat and a horrible sinus infection.  Nevertheless, I had to drive my mother to dialysis.  I went to tell her I was up at a little after 9 in the morning and see what help she needed before I got myself ready enough to drive her the 20 minutes.  I often would spend the extra time in the library bumming wifi, but that morning I was so sick I was going to come home and come back to bed.  But my plans changed instantly -- and life changed in a moment.  I went into her room and found her on the floor.  Instead of driving her 20 minutes to dialysis, I drove her an hour to the E.R.  She was in the hospital for a week, then into a rehab facility, then back into the hospital where they gave her a 10% chance of living.  From there she was transfered to another hospital, one in a "big bad" city about 2 1/2 hours away.  (Remember I live in a town of 1500 and any city of about 25,000 or more is a "big bad" city! ha!)  I burned every Hilton Honors point I had earned in over 10 years to be near here.  (Thank God I had enough that I wasn't worried about how to pay for a hotel room.)  She came home from the hospital and from rehab just after Thanksgiving.

It's been a hard year for a lot of people.  Some have had a much worse year than we have.  I have two online friends and a friend from college who have lost children this year.  Their year has been much harder than ours.  But ours hasn't been easy.   It's been a harder year for Mom than it has for me (physically at least).  She didn't realize she was on a ventilator for 11 days.  Eleven LONG days that she thought was two.  My boyfriend came in (he was living in Virginia at the time) and we were in Pittsburgh for eight of those days. 

I finished up my pre-Christmas eBay sales tonight.  Now what?   Not one light is up, not one gift is wrapped.  I did a great month on eBay.  Still $700 shy of what I had hoped, but I had set my sights really high this month. However, when my mother got a hospital bed this year, the bed she had been using was moved to the living room.  It's finally down.   A living room without a spare bed in it.  Some people will see Christmas decorations as a tree, stockings, and a nativity scene gracing the mantel.   This year I see a Christmas decoration as a spot where a bed is no longer standing.  The mere fact it was there and is now gone is a miracle -- or at least symbolizing a miracle that my mother survived being so sick this summer.

A week from now we'll be at Grandpa's.   I didn't want to go.   My mother insisted.  She wants me to meet Grandpa  (my boyfriend's grandfather)   She said she can get along okay without me because some people will be coming in to help out.  I am scared.  When I saw her on the floor, I don't think anything will erase that image from my mind.  She never asks me to check on her in the night, but yet I felt like "if only" I had.

Life is returning to normal.  I don't know what that new normal is quite going to look like.  I just know right now it looks like an empty spot in the living room where a bed stood.  There is no tree, but there is no bed.  And for me, that's all the Christmas decoration I need this year. 

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